I’m sending this specifically to Mom, Nathan, Keri, Kelly & Heather but anyone who wants can read it since I’ll probably just talk about all the things that I haven’t had time to email home.
First thing is that I LOVE IT OUT HERE! I’m so glad that I am able to be here and for all the support that got me here. I’m starting to pick up some Zulu words but luckily pretty much everyone knows English. But it’s good to know as much Zulu as possible because it makes the people trust you more if you can speak their language even just a little bit. Elder Warner, my companion, knows a lot of Zulu & has taught me some but I’m picking up more just listening.
I should also describe a township to you. Nseleni, my township, is apparently one of the nicest & safest townships in the Mission. Most townships have dirt roads but Nseleni is paved. The property lots that the houses sit on are typically longer from front to back than from side to side & are probably the same size as the one that our house is on. The difference is the house itself. Most of the houses I’ve seen here have 4 rooms: a front room or living room, 2 bedrooms, & a kitchen. Some have a bathroom & shower inside, some don’t. But all of them are filled to over what we would think possible. Pretty much everyone has a garden to supplement their food. Some people though build little one or 2 room houses behind theirs for other people to live in. I’m not sure if that means that the owner of the main house gets rent from the other people or not but the houses in the back are usually very sad to see that people actually live in them. They do keep their houses clean though.
The Zulu culture is much like that of the Native American culture except that for the most part the Zulus haven’t gotten up to speed with the rest of the world. The older men, traditionally hunters & warriors, are now the laziest people you’ve ever seen. Most are either drunks or criminals. That’s not fair because there are plenty of good men who make a living for the family but the culture is very subservient to women. (I think he means women are subservient). A lot of these people are stuck here because they just don’t see that they can get out of the township & find something better. There’s not much though, and that’s the problem. The economy here isn’t the greatest and that means jobs are really scarce. I’ve seen women doing construction work, a lot of them. That’s how scarce jobs are.
Immorality is rampant here. I saw a study the other day that said something like 42%of kids in high school have had sex. No wonder something like 28% of the total population has AIDS, or maybe it’s just HIV, either way it’s really bad. Part of the problem is that the people still follow old cultural practices. The big problem is that a man is supposed to pay for his wife. It keeps a lot of people from getting married & encourages people to just live together & split later because the price is so much.
The good thing is that religion is big here & we have success. We baptize more people in this mission than most others do. So hopefully things will change before too long.
I love & miss you guys so much. Next week I’ll start to tell you about some of the people here because I’ve met some very very nice people.
Anyways… I hope everything is going well. You can write back letters if you want to or stick to just emails, whatever you want to do.
I love you all
P.S. The 10 Rand bill that I’m including is only worth like $1.12 or something like that. I thought it would be cool for you guys to have one. (I considered scanning it for the post, but I wouldn't want anyone to get in trouble with the SA government)